Thanksgiving, Thursday evening, 2016 - What I Saw;
Consumers were shopping briskly at two retailers I visited, Best Buy and Target. The evening really began earlier in the day as consumers began lining up outside the stores to get their hands on the "door buster" specials.
Lines outside the stores were not too severe, and store personnel opined that they were smaller than last year. Target had mostly women on the line, while the Best Buy line was almost 100% male. Both lines were comprised of younger people I estimated to be of ages 18 to 34.
By 7pm holiday shopping was getting fully underway as mall parking lots filled and customers began parking in the remote areas and on the grass.
Both stores had more than ample staff on the floor - the Super Target had at least one person per aisle, while Best Buy, a much smaller store, had staff members on every endcap and then some. I queried some of the staff in both stores and found them all trained and knowledgeable about their assigned aisle. Staff in Best Buy were busy restocking floor displays as needed.
Walking behind the registers at Target I saw a wide variety of transaction amounts. At any moment there were plenty of transactions at $10 to $15 and then a number at $300 to $400 or more.
Sales at Best Buy seemed to have a much higher average ticket, and computers were also popular.